Sweden issues first licences
Sweden's gambling regulator the Lotteriinspektionen has issued the country's first online gaming licences ahead of the country's re-regulated market opening on January 1, 2019.
In total, 12 companies have been approved to offer either online casino, online sports betting or both, including Svenska Spel. The state-owned operator has also secured a separate licence to that effectively restates its position as the monopoly holder for lottery games and land-based slot machines.
The country's former horse racing monopoly operator AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has been issued online betting and gaming licences, as have high profile international operators such as bet365 and GVC (for its bwin, partypoker and partycasino brands). A number of Nordic brands such as Casumo, LeoVegas, Kindred Group and Betsson, which has been awarded separate licences for its Betsson, NordicBet and SverigeAutomaten brands, have also secured approval.
Operators including Interwetten, Tombola, SuprPlay and white label casino operator SkillOnNet have also been cleared to enter the market from January.
The Lotteriinspektionen said that it has received 95 licence applications, of which 70 are for online betting or gaming, since the application process began in August. The regulators said those figures do not reflect the number of possible active brands in Sweden, with companies permitted to operate multiple brands under a single licence.
"Since one of the purposes of gambling reform was to achieve a high channeling it is encouraging that many bookmakers [already] aimed at the Swedish market will be part of the new license market by year-end," Lotteriinspektionen director general Camilla Rosenberg commented.
"This is a historic day for gambling in Sweden," she continued. "I am very proud that the Lotteriinspektionen staff, working in a short space of time and working with completely new legislation, has been able to process the first licence applications."
The regulator is expected to announce further decisions on licence applications from other operators in the coming weeks.
Sweden’s parliament ratified laws to re-regulate the country's gambling market in June, after years of speculation, demand from operators and a growing offshore market.
Coming into effect from January 1, 2019, the bill includes rules that cover licensing, international cooperation, responsible gambling, supervision and fees.
Operators must pay SEK400,000 (€38,900/$45,900) for a licence, and for companies wanting to offer both online casino and sports betting, this fee will be increased to SEK700,000.